In the Special Series on comshalom.org during this time of Pandemic, you have been able to follow how the missionaries spread across the world have been living the virtue of hope, typical of Christians at all moments of their lives.
Today you will get to know the reality of two members of the Shalom Catholic Community who live in neighbouring European countries, Portugal and Spain.
Portugal: a place with dilated hearts of love
Messias Albano is a missionary of the Shalom Catholic Community in the city of Almada in Portugal.
According to him, to evangelise in Portuguese lands during these times has been a new experience, because the conventional way of going out to meet people, door to door, making friends with the Portuguese people, is not currently possible due to restrictions of the Quarantine.
“We know that for each difficult moment that the world goes through, God reveals new paths to teach us how to evangelise. We have seen this new pathway through the use of the internet, praying the ‘Rosary of the Angels’ everyday and doing the daily reflection using the Bible Study, counting on the participation of the members of the prayer group of the Youth for Jesus of Portugal project”, pronounces Messias.
He highlights that the online prayer groups and the missionaries from the Covenant and Life Community remaining at home, is something that has strengthened the bond between them.
“The responsibility of being attentive to the more fragile brothers has formed a stronger unity between us, especially during these difficult moments. We are taking care of each other. One day I went to the bakery and that trip resulted in the donation of a face mask to a Portuguese man who needed it more”, shares Messias.
The love of the Portuguese people
In the same way, he says that in the current time the Portuguese people,have also helped the missionaries with concrete acts of donation.
Messias emphasises that, now more than ever, God has reminds us of the need to welcome everyone into our hearts, because Christ is merciful and forgives, that is how each missionary should be before humanity and what the reality they are faced with right now.
“We continue to have our Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in the following way: a brother per hour, in the Shalom Chapel here in Almada, every afternoon. Charity dilates the heart so that in it everyone can fit inside, even those who do not respond to our love. Through humility, we should not be outraged or shocked with anything, but know that God loves us and it is present in our lives,” concludes the missionary.
Spain: When solidarity comes into scene and shines
Daniel is a missionary of the Shalom Catholic Community in Granada (Spain). He shares that in this period of Quarantine, the missionaries have been getting in contact with the Spanish members of the Shalom work via videoconferences, but not only that.
“In the region where our houses are situated – the Communal House and the Men’s House – the buildings are very close to each other, close enough that we are able to have a conversion with the neighbours across the window. We are making the most of the current reality to talk to people that we had never before had the chance to know, and to also offer help and support to the elderly who are advised to not leave their houses. We offer to do their shopping, among other things”, he shares.
To be present and attentive: how was your day?
The missionary shares that from the beginning of the quarantine, it was noticeable how people were more open to solidarity, which is a concrete way of evangelising.
According to him, the great novelty is the initiative with the youth who take part in the prayer group.
At the end of the day, they come together via video chat to share how their “day in quarantine” has been. Even being isolated at home, they have managed to remain together.
“The goal is to help them as much as possible, to live this time of confinement without losing time. Additionally, the online prayer group, which we broadcast on Tuesdays, has enabled young people from other parts of Spain, such as, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, as well other people from the region of Granada who wanted to take part in our groups but were unable to due to the distance, to participate in our prayer group. This has been a true grace”, he explains.
Covid-19: Is the time to hope in the Divine Providence
Daniel asks that the missionaries not lose the knowledge that the providential and protective gaze of God remains the same during the current times. “God does not change”, in accordance with the teachings of the great Spanish Saint Teresa.
“The God who sent His graces so that we were able to live well our missions before, is the same One who gives and will give us the grace to live the challenges and suffering that this pandemic has created. May this challenge take us closer to prayer, to the desire for holiness, to the care of our suffering brother”, he concludes.
Translation: Gabriela Gois